The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Horror, Horror Comedy, Satire  |   Release Date - Nov 8, 1970 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - UK  |   MPAA Rating - R
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This oft-forgotten film from Hammer's later years is one of this company's more memorable efforts from this periods. The horror satire is one of the most difficult subgenres of the horror film to pull off but Jimmy Sangster manages to make Horror Of Frankenstein work thanks to a script that utilizes all the classic Frankenstein conventions while also satirizing them in a mordantly funny fashion. Sangster's direction lacks the gothic flair of a Terence Fisher but his sense of comic timing is sharp and he maintains a tight pace throughout. His work is further aided by an effective set of performances highlighted by Ralph Bates' turn as Victor Frankenstein: Bates brings a heavy dose of sarcasm and lasciviousness to this usually dry and asexual archetype to create a character that is seductive and terrifying all at once. The other performances pale in comparison to his work but Kate O'Mara also turns in a worthwhile performance as the Baron's servant-cum-mistress, blending sexiness and servant-class street smarts in an alluring style. On the downside, Horror Of Frankenstein runs out of steam during its third act and suffers from a finale lacks the slam-bang punch that would have closed the film out in style. Despite these problems, Horror Of Frankenstein remains a solid, often surprising film that is perfect for horror fans who can appreciate a few sly laughs being mixed in with the usual chills.